07 April 2016

Pushing


Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) Backpacking
White Rock Mountain to Springs Creek
March 26-27


Yay!! This is about how I feel right now! I have had this major list going on in my head of things to get done before I leave for Hawaii. And this week has felt far from productive, except for tonight...! Thankfully, I was able to get a lot of loose ends tied up! 
 I have my room(s) tidied up (as much as it can be under re-modeling). I finally found the information I need to be able to file an exemption for Healthcare coverage (so now I can send off my taxes). I got some laundry done. And now I'm blogging (which was something I wanted to be all caught up on, so I can focus on Hawaii pictures when I get back)! :) 
Tomorrow, I head to the Tulsa area for some fun with the youth group down there. And I will get to replace my phone screen on Saturday (a really important one from my mega list of things to do before my vacation... Whew!) 


I'll just say right now, that this trail is not the prettiest one there ever was... We went at the beginning of spring, right as the trees were beginning to bud. So maybe with the naked eye, you could see more green than you can see in any of the photos. Also, as we were hiking, we started to notice a lot of burnt tree stumps and charred tree trunks. At the start of a trail-head we saw a posted notice that this area had a forest fire back in 2013. Considering all of that, it looked a little more bare than your normal Ozarks.


We added our names to a little sheet that had signatures from all sorts of people who had been along this trail :)




One of the many springs along the way...


We made it to Salt Fork Creek by 2 or 3pm and re-filled our water supply. Then we tried to cross the creek. It looked pretty manageable, but my wet hiking boots tell a little different story. Jessica was smart and hiked up-stream a way  to find a better crossing. :P
We started back out on the trail with me wearing flip-flops, haha! But after an hour, my boots were dry enough to wear again. (Those boots are my new favorite pair of footwear that I own! :) Not only because they are very durable and functional, but they look a little cuter than your average bulky backpacking boot. Hehe!)




As we approached our campsite, we looked back and could barely see the sun as it was sinking below the mountain we had just crossed over. We were afraid we might not make it before the sun set, but we barely did! :)


There are many campsites along the entire OHT. Normally two or three areas surrounding each creek. The awesome thing is, you don't need a permit to backpack this trail... and there is no cost for using these primitive camp sites! ;) Lol!




Filtering more water for our supper.



Jessica warned me that these freeze-dried meals normally taste like canned dog food. (How would she know...? ;) Hehe) Anyway, we were both pleasantly surprised at how good this beef stew tasted once it was hydrated and warmed up! I don't think it was necessarily because we were super hungry either... ;)


We were the only ones who camped around this creek that night. 
Thankfully! :) Because I enjoy my privacy. :)


I can't say that our sleep was 100% quality... because I remember waking up about 4 or 5 times to roll over. But I woke up in the morning feeling very refreshed and ready to start again!


After breakfast, we put our backpacking packs in the tent and ventured a little further on the trail to some falls we knew to be not very far way. (We were just too tired to go see them the evening before.)


It wasn't quite the "falls" I was expecting, but it was still pretty! :) 
I got home and realized that the picture of the falls I saw online was several miles down on the trail... too many for us to do in one day.



All in all, this backpacking trip gave me a new perspective of how your tired you feel after hiking 6,000 ft elevation change (total of both days... up and down two mountains). 
However, I was completely shocked that my back didn't even ache after carrying that pack for two days... just tired :)


And really... the only bad thing about this trip was that I knew that we were going to be hiking back to my car that was empty on gas. I was not too proud of myself for not realizing that I was so low on gas before we were so many miles from civilization.
Thankfully as we headed back home we found out that the nearest gas station was mostly all downhill. Even though it was 25-30 miles away, we made it there just fine :)


-MarLeahJoy


02 April 2016

Brag Book


I can remember all the way back to 6th grade... there was a girl named Candy in my class who had a few older siblings. One day she pulled this little photo album out of her purse and said, "Wanna look at my brag book? It's all my nieces and nephews!!" I didn't understand her excitement whatsoever, but I recall obligingly looking through the book of pictures. And honestly, the only reason I remember this instance is because in my mind I was mocking of how silly it was to have a "brag book". It was also my first time to hear the term and I thought it was a tad bit goofy sounding.

That was 9 years ago... And 2 months ago I became an Aunt myself. 
I totally understand now.
You don't know how HARD it is to let my little nephew grow up so far away from me!
Of course, Alyssa is very good to send me a daily picture or video of Brent, but somedays it only makes it a little harder, knowing that I can't just drive to their house and squeeze him for myself!

I made a photo book of Brent's newborn pictures for Alyssa. So now, if you'll allow me... I'll share my own brag book ;)


This was the front and back cover...














That's it folks! At least until I devise up a plan to make it back to West Virginia. :)

-MarLeahJoy


28 March 2016

Darren and Kate {Engagement}


These two are just so fun! I got to take their engagement pictures last October and had to resist sharing them because I wanted them to be able to use them as they wanted before I went and shared them. They have been happily married for about two months now though, so I guess we're safe. ;)

































We were really really running out of light. Especially by the time we made the long, treacherous hike down to the dock. So ignore the quality of these last photos and focus on the love ;) ;P












-MarLeahJoy